James Monroe Thornton

May 16, 1926June 27, 2019

Homegoing Celebration For Technical Sergeant James Monroe Thornton May 16, 1926 – June 27, 2019 First United Methodist Church 419 S. Park Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

On June 27, 2019 Technical Sergeant James “Thunder” Thornton tucked his landing gear up and took off in the wild blue yonder. He died of natural causes, after a long and enjoyable life of 93 years. He passed away peacefully at home with his family by his side. Sergeant Thornton was born May 16, 1926 to the late Hosea and Annie Knight Thornton in Bronson, Florida. As a young teen he was employed in the pulpwood Forest of Levy County performing the back-breaking duties of a Log Turner. On February 3, 1945 he enlisted in the United States Army where he would become a member of World War II’s Greatest Generation. Private 1st Class Thornton would spend only 21 months in the Army but during that short service time he would become a Rifleman earning the Expert Infantry Badge. His gallantry would land him far away from the sandy gopher hills of Bronson. He was attached to a military police battalion in Hawaii, where he was responsible for guarding some of the most dangerous Japanese prisoners of the war. Sergeant Thornton would continue his military service after World War II and join the newly formed United States Air Force. Shortly thereafter he would find himself on the Korean Peninsula serving his country. In 1957 he would meet the love of his life Ethel Bradwell and soon they would join in holy matrimony for 70 years of devoted love. In 1969, now Technical Sergeant Thornton would find himself at war again but this time in the tropical climate of Vietnam. His final deployment before retirement was the majestic country of Greenland while there he would send his family unbelievable souvenirs. Having served at Tyndall AFB Panama City, Florida, Castle AFB, Merced California, MacDill AFB, Tampa, Florida and Thule, Greenland, he would retire at Homestead AFB after 21 years of service. Known as a “WALKING ENCYCLOPEDIA” James read and took notes on every event that shaped American History. His vast knowledge of African American History could have earned him an honorary Doctoral Degree from Harvard University, but his humble demeanor would never suggest his high level of brilliance. The First United Methodist Church became his rock and its members became his extended family. Pastors David and Meghan Killingsworth has always been the shinning beak that he reached for including friends Jim Estep and Larry Blair. He was preceded in death by his parents, also step-father, Mr. William Johnson, his brothers Willie Lee Thornton, Robert Glover and Johnnie Johnson. Left to cherish his memories is his wife Ethel Thornton, children James Thornton Jr. and Albrenda Thornton. Sisters: Dizzie Parker and Geraldine Johnson of Bronson, Florida; brothers, Joseph Johnson and Claudell Johnson. A very special niece Allean D. Gilyard and Sister-In-Law Algerina Bradwell-Paris. He played the guiding role as mentor, military hero, protector and confidant to nephew Major Ocky Clark as well as godson Demetrious Ward. Many loving wonderful nieces and nephews, cousins, including his caregivers Laura, Ashley and Fred. Not to be forgotten is his caring Sister In Laws Helen Ward, Dolores Bradwell, Edna Oliver, Al Bradwell-Paris, Donna Johnson, Daisy Glover, Junita Hunter and Vanestor Johnson. Brother -In- Laws Abraham Wilson, James Bradwell Jr and James Paris. OLD SOLDIERS NEVER DIE, THEY SIMPLY FADE AWAY. GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR


  • Visitation Wednesday, July 3, 2019
  • Celebration of Life Wednesday, July 3, 2019
  • Committal Wednesday, July 3, 2019


James Monroe Thornton

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Eve Jones

June 29, 2019

My sincere condolences to my dear friend Deloris Gilyard and the family. I pray that you find comfort and peace during your time of Bereavement.
Deloris was very dedicated to her uncle ; nothing was too much for her to do for him. A drive to Sanford to check on him during his illness was like going around the corner, she had to see for herself how he was doing. I will keep in touch and continue to pray for all of the family and love ones.